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The Boys VS. Marvel Superheroes

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  • The Boys VS. Marvel Superheroes

    I noticed Marvel characters in The Boys are having a much "fairer" treatment than their DC counterparts:

    1) Nearly all DC supes, from Superman to Teen Titans, are present and are ultimately and definitely evil, and until now they are the main villains. We see them nearly in every issue, and we already know the origins (and the demise) of some of them.
    On the opposite, most Marvel champions (Spiderman and Hulk for example) seem to be totally missing, or they just make cameo appareances (like Fantastic Four in Herogasm).

    2) Main arcs dedicated to Marvel heroes (G-Men, Payback) and Marvel-like characters aren't so "deep" as their counterparts. The G-men appear and die altogether just in an arc, and they're given little more than a sentence per character in the whole story, not to mention that most of them aren't funny like the others (come on, a rabid, babbling runt with hammers for hands is all the parody Ennis can take off Wolverine?). Payback get swiftly killed in a couple of issues, with two of them being already dead/missing in the first place, and we're supposed not to care less about them.

    3) DC-oriented supes sometimes have two Boys incarnations, one for golden age era, the other for more recent appareances: we have both a classic and a "dark knight" Batman, both Barry Allen and Wally West as Flash, Dick Grayson and Tim Drake as Robin, etc.. No Marvel analogue has been given the same space until now.

    4) "Amalgam" characters are far more DC oriented. Tek Knight is an Iron Man/Batman crossover, but he's definitely more Bruce Wayne than Stark. Stormfront, despite being a leading member of the Avengers, is far more Capt. Marvel than Thor. Homelander has some tiny bits of Captain America, but he's 99,99% Superman, and so on.

    5) The Boys themselves (the "good guys", as to say) bear some resemblance to Marvel characters (Butcher/Punisher, M.M./Luke Cage, and I bet 100 to 1 that Mallory will be a Nick Fury alter-ego), although less explicit than their opponents. The Legend is undeniably Stan Lee, but we don't have a Max Gaines or a Wheeler-Nicholson tribute (and it would have been good for the plot: the founder of DC was a respected army officer other than a comics editor, and putting him in the comic as an ally would have provided better justification for the Boys knowing about Vought's plans and tamperings with defence contracts. And, credit due, he's far more a Legend than Lee. ).


    I think that DC heroes, being far more "shiny and immaculate" than their cousins, are an easier target for Ennis' infamous black humor. Also, Marvel has been already parodied to death during Ennis' career (as in his first runs on the Punisher).

    What do you think?
    Last edited by Boris; 08-22-2009, 09:58 PM.

  • #2
    Now that I think of it, I do recall an issue early on where there's a poster on the wall that looks suspiciously like the DC logo, with something unspeakably foul scrawled across it. Maybe he really DOES have it in for DC more than Marvel.

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    • #3
      That makes a lot of sense, although Ennis did say he loved superman, and still made Homelander the king prick.

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      • #4
        Well, that certainly explains why DC canceled this series.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Claus_x View Post
          That makes a lot of sense, although Ennis did say he loved superman, and still made Homelander the king prick.
          Well, he loves Judge Dredd for sure, and look what he made of him in The Boys.
          Last edited by Boris; 08-28-2009, 06:22 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by blackphoenix View Post
            Well, that certainly explains why DC canceled this series.

            Sounds more likely than "problems with extreme scenes and general anti-hero tone".

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            • #7
              I was giving it some thought:

              Maybe the first explicit "Superheroes suck!" run by Ennis was in The Pro, a (rather cheap) satire of DC Comics and the Justice League in particular. Other jabs at the DC universe are scattered around his work (in Hitman he made complete idiots of Green Lantern and Lobo, and ran some sexy jokes at Catwoman and Wonder Woman), but nothing too scandalous or excessive. He even wrote a beautiful Superman piece.

              Prior to that he wrote The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe, where gloves were truly off (look! It's Spiderman! BANG! No more. And now let's nuke the X-men out...).
              But Marvel was impressed enough to give him other jobs, and they treated him well (in the end he was even given The Punisher full time, no questions asked). In return, he gave Marvel some really cool stories and at least a couple of his masterpieces.

              So it may be gentleman's courtesy. They catched the joke and they supported him, and he's returning the favor by not messing (too much) with their children.

              On another side, there's the "artistic" point of view.

              Anybody can write a story about an evil and perverted Spiderman. It has already been done.
              Marvel heroes are, maybe by definition, far more "human" than their DC parents. They are perfect material for experiments, also.

              DC heroes are instead more "archetypical", they represent the more ideal part of the superhero concept, and they are definitely more "super" than "men and women" (just think of this: could your bear the thought of Batman having sex(not falling in love, but the straight physical thing!) ? Or Superman swearing his tits off?).

              So, tampering with them is more gratifying from the Ennis point of view. And more striking, too.
              This may also be the real reason we don't see any supervillain equivalent in the Boys. There's no need to "reveal" us that Lex Luthor is a power-mad psycho and Carnage is a mass-murderer, we already know that (still, anyone wishing a Joker equivalent in the Boys, please raise your hand! )
              Last edited by Boris; 08-28-2009, 06:23 AM.

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              • #8
                You know what "The Boys" REALLY reminds me of? Mark Millar's run on The Authority. Remember when "The Americans" (who were pretty clearly just the Avengers) showed up and raped Apollo and started killing hospitals full of babies? I personally feel that The Boys are a lot closer in tone to that particular comic arc than they are even to the "Punisher kills the MU."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kamakazi View Post
                  You know what "The Boys" REALLY reminds me of? Mark Millar's run on The Authority. Remember when "The Americans" (who were pretty clearly just the Avengers) showed up and raped Apollo and started killing hospitals full of babies? I personally feel that The Boys are a lot closer in tone to that particular comic arc than they are even to the "Punisher kills the MU."
                  Now that you mention it... I totally agree with you!

                  And, if I remember well, there even was a cigar-smoking short man physically identical to the Legend (although evil), dealing into superhero comics and secret superteams!

                  And, while we are talking about Authority, is it just me or Butcher is practically Kev's bigger brother?

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                  • #10
                    The cigar-chomping guy from The Authority was a parody of Jack Kirby. I don't know how I'd managed to forget about that. The hard time I'm giving Ennis over The Boys is nothing compared to the hatred people were heaping on Millar for turning Smilin' Jack into a bad-guy.

                    Man, when you start comparing The Boys to that particular Authority run, The Boys starts to look a lot less mean-spirited. At least none of the Boys have sodomized Captain America with a jackhammer yet.
                    Last edited by Kamakazi; 08-30-2009, 11:57 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kamakazi View Post
                      The cigar-chomping guy from The Authority was a parody of Jack Kirby.

                      Are you sure on that?

                      I don't know well how Kirby looked like, I've just seen a couple of pics of him in his young age, and I can't find portraits of him similar to the Authority guy (or the Legend).
                      My guess was some Marvel big boss mocked as an evil overlord, or Steve Ditko at best, go figure!

                      If this is true, it would mean that the Legend himself is a graphic tribute to the King (other than Stan Lee), a fact that supports the pro-Marvel theory.

                      Man, when you start comparing The Boys to that particular Authority run, The Boys starts to look a lot less mean-spirited. At least none of the Boys have sodomized Captain America with a jackhammer yet.


                      Maybe the Homelander having sex with Soldier Boy in Herogasm is a sort of revenge for the Avengers raping Apollo/Superman in that arc...

                      Do you think that particular Authority arc (or the series in general) could have been a source of ispiration for Ennis (who also wrote some issues, after all)?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Boris View Post
                        Are you sure on that?
                        I tried to track down a few of the articles:

                        "Not content to simmer in this hullabaloo, Millar then introduces the bad guy of the piece, an elderly visionary called Jacob Krigstein, or as it is painfully obvious, the late great Jack Kirby, the artist responsible for the creation of such wonders as the Fantastic Four, Thor, X-Men with Stan Lee, and the New Gods for DC Comics. What Kirby, one of the most influential comic book creators all time, had done to deserve this slight, Millar only knows? "
                        http://www.popmatters.com/comics/authority.shtml

                        Krigstein is based on legendary comic-book creator Jack Kirby, and indeed, Engineer notes that he "probably would have created all your favorite comic book characters if he hadn't been snapped up by Eisenhower at the end of the war."
                        http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Jacob_Krigstein_%28Earth-50%29

                        Also, from the Kirbypedia entry: "Jacob Krigstein, a character in The Authority comic books, is inspired by Jack Kirby."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kamakazi View Post
                          I tried to track down a few of the articles:
                          Thank you for your help! Looks like you're absolutely right.

                          Questions are now:

                          1) Is the Legend based on Kirby, too (at least graphically, given that his background suggests a more Lee-like character)?

                          2) Should we change the title of this thread to "the Boys vs DC Comics?"

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